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Health

Issues surrounding healthcare in European states is of growing concern in today’s society: having the means to live a good quality of life and being able to take care of yourself and your loved ones is essential to well-being, not only in physical terms but also in terms of mental health.

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Health and access to healthcare in Europe however, are strongly determined by socioeconomic status, which puts the most socially disadvantaged groups in an unequal position. Access to health services can be significantly restricted or conditional, and the types of services provided may be inappropriate for some social groups. This situation is only worsening with the economic crisis where governments continue to make cutbacks on public health services and welfare in order to relieve pressure on growing debt burdens. According to the WHO (World Health Organisation), the right to health means that governments must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible. Such conditions range from ensuring availability of health services, healthy and safe working conditions and nutritious food. It is important to note that the right to health has been enshrined in international and regional human rights treaties as well as national constitutions all over the world. Nevertheless, this right has not been (and is still not being) respected by many of the members states.

What is the solution then, or a remedy at the least? Below are presented actions/projects - currently running in different regions across European states – that could offer an alternative to people in crisis. These types of actions should be seen as an incentive for governments to promote and facilitate new paths towards enabling people their right to health.

Health.PNG (465.95 Kb) Pictures by Infirmiers de rue, Yvonne L.Sweden and Inkyhack

Preventing and informing

Health is not only about curing but firstly ensuring long-term individuals’ well-being by providing them with key information and training on their general condition to prevent diseases and health problems’ development. Youth education is key to adopt healthy habits at a very young age.
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Prevention and Health Education focuses on hygiene in the broad sense of the word:

  • Cleanliness: practice a set of cleaning processes to remove infectious microbes as well as dirt and soil (e.g. hand washing)
  • Dietetics and health food: educate individuals and groups on good nutritional habits (e.g. 5 fresh fruits and veggies per day).
  • Physical activity: encourage a daily minimum physical exercise (e.g. 30min of walk)
  • Ergonomics: focus on ways to improve working conditions and daily moves (e.g. 5min screen break every 45min of computer work)
  • Risk behaviour assessment: lower risk factors (e.g. non-alcoholic beer served during student festivals).
  • Screening test: doctor’s check-up regular visits (e.g. breast screening for women over 50)
Click Here for Examples

Business centre for people with disabilities

Auteur : Maria Jeliazkova - Publié le : 2013-08-13 15:14 -

By working with and for people with disabilities, the project aims to provide equal opportunities and better life chances for them. The activities simultaneously increase the level of public awareness on issues of people with disabilities and lobby for their rights.

A buddy near the crib

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-07-26 14:33 -
A buddy near the crib

Perinatal coaching for deprived families: Future midwifes and social workers take up the role of buddy in distressed families during pregnancy, birth and early childhood.

Addiction Contact Point

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-07-25 17:49 -

A volunteer citizen-based service located in the municipal building providing information and support for any inhabitant with addiction problem.

Consumers' Schools

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-07-02 11:07 -

The consumers’ schools provide a place for exchanges, training and information for inhabitants around challenges of their dailylife (budgeting/food/consumption/health…)

Frameries Medical House

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-12 13:57 -

In Belgium, medical houses are integrated health centres where general practitioners, physiotherapists or nurses organize their work all together to provide first line care in a continuous way. Focus on the unique initiative launched by a local authority in Wallonia (Belgium)

Sharing or pooling of resources

It has already been mentioned the fact that access to health services in Europe is not straightforward or legally ensured for all. With the current economic downturn, most governments have already decided to cut spending on social and public sectors – health especially is one of the sectors that has been targeted for cuts.
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Less affordable and accessible health services will inevitably mean increased inequalities across the continent. In response to the failure of some governments to cater to its peoples’ needs, certain initiatives have arisen that are making use of existing resources (i.e. medical, human, knowledge/skills, etc.). In Greece for example, a “Robin Hood” network of doctors created an underground movement providing free medical assistance to the unemployed and poorer civilians with no social security or with very little income. Much of the medicines used are donated.
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KoMit - Allotment Gardeners

Auteur : Malou WEIRICH - Publié le : 2013-10-02 14:48 -
Réinsertion sociale

The Austrian Federation of Allotment Gardeners and the association KoMit cooperate for the benefit of disabled people

Germany: Good neighbours!

Auteur : Malou Weirich / Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-08-21 13:12 -

Successful collaboration between an allotment garden association and a local elderly persons’ home.

Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko

Auteur : Mariani Papanikolau - Publié le : 2013-08-01 12:13 -

The Metropolitan Community Clinic at Helliniko provides free medical assistance to the unemployed, and poor civilians with no social security or with very little income.

Civil Society Organisations

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-27 10:28 -

Many Civil Society Organisations (CSO) help in facilitating access to health and medical treatment for people-in-need, low-income families or individuals, and for emergency situations.

Social clinics

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-27 10:17 -

These are self-managed clinics that have appeared in different cities all over Europe, and have been created as a direct response to many people being unable to afford healthcare for a number of reasons.

Time Banks

Auteur : Lorna Muddiman - Publié le : 2013-05-23 09:05 -

Time banking is a means of exchange in a community, where time, not money, is the principal currency.

Frameries Medical House

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-12 13:57 -

In Belgium, medical houses are integrated health centres where general practitioners, physiotherapists or nurses organize their work all together to provide first line care in a continuous way. Focus on the unique initiative launched by a local authority in Wallonia (Belgium)

Policy reforms – good practice

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Policies that enable more equal access to healthcare services

  • Direct assumption of medical expenses for those with few resources (Luxembourg)
  • Abolishment of co-payments for persons of low-income (Spain)
  • Implementation of a maximum health bill and extension of the third party payer system for low-income households to tackle the barrier of pre-financing medical fees (Belgium, Luxembourg)
  • An agreementon cooperation between the Region and the third sector in the Skåne region (Sweden)

''The above bill by Sweden is particularly interesting since it illustrates the principle that in many members states the third sector and non-profit social service providers are public authorities’ partners that contribute to the definition, planning, implementation and evaluation of social policies and services. The parties involved in the cooperation agreement in Skåne see a particular value in the non-profit-distributing types of activities represented by non profit organisations. They clearly affirm that the aim of the agreement is not to reduce costs of social policies and services, but to contribute to opening up possibilities for ventures leading to increased participation and reduced isolation of the people living in that region. The Region commits to foresee adequate resources in the budget to support for coordination and development work of the non profit organisations involved in the agreement. Areas of cooperation include social enterprises, volunteering, public health, welfare development, culture. One of the objectives of the Region is to explore possibilities for other forms of operation through changed procurement procedure.

Examples of Actions and Policies

Below are listed all the examples of actions (in orange) and policies (in green) collected regarding access to Health

Social Pharmacy of Kilkis

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 15:48 -

It is addressed to the poor, uninsured, immigrants without permission to stay. It is a structure based on the voluntarism of the local doctors and pharmacists as well as the members of the social service of the Municipality.

Social Solidarity Medical Office-Pharmacy of Preveza

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 15:26 -

It is a structure providing free medical examination and medicines prescription to un insurances citizens and poor people and is supported on a volunteering base by a group of doctors offering their services for free.

Social Solidarity volunteers medical office

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 15:10 -
Social Solidarity volunteers medical office

The structure offers free medical examinations, medicines and vaccination for the children. Eligible beneficiaries are all uninsuranced and poor citizens of Rethymno. Contact details

Social Solidarity network-Herakleion Crete

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 15:01 -

The NGO: Social Solidarity Network of Herakleion” has established a social medical office to provide basic health care provision to un- insuranced- poor citizens of Herakleion.

Open Solidarity Committee Tinos Island

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 14:57 -

The aim of the Social Pharmacy of the Solidarity Committee of Tinos Island is providing free medicines to un-insurances citizens as well as people excluded form public health in general.

Solidarity medical office Piraeus

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 14:53 -

The Solidarity medical office of Pireus is providing to un-insuranced citizens for free: medical and dental health provision, medicines, occupational therapy, speech therapy, physiotherapy as well as social and psychological support.

Social Pharmacy-Social Medical office in Kavala

Auteur : Papandréou Lydia - Publié le : 2014-02-04 14:38 -

The Social pharmacy-Social medical office was founded to provide health services to underprivileged citizens of Kavala. The medicines’ kept at home- in no use- collection and management under the supervision of the local pharmacy warehouse in cooperation with local NGO’s working on social welfare provision.

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Frameries Medical House

Auteur : Louise Hain - Publié le : 2013-08-12 13:57 -

In Belgium, medical houses are integrated health centres where general practitioners, physiotherapists or nurses organize their work all together to provide first line care in a continuous way. Focus on the unique initiative launched by a local authority in Wallonia (Belgium)

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